Uncapped Sayers makes Aussie Test squad


Uncapped South Australia bowler Chadd Sayers and Tasmania quick Jackson Bird have made the cut for Australia's 14-man squad for the upcoming two-Test tour of New Zealand.

Peter Siddle also returns after recovering from an ankle injury picked up in the Boxing Day Test, although selectors will continue to monitor his fitness, as well as that of James Pattinson, who missed the Melbourne Renegades' last game with a shin injury, while Victoria team-mate Scott Boland has not been selected.

Sayers, 28, has been one of the most consistent seamers at a domestic level, with his career highlight to date coming in the 2012-13 season, when he was named South Australia's player of the season.

He topped the wicket tally for the season, taking 48 at 18.52, a feat which earned him selection for an Australia A tour of the British Isles in 2013, where he was leading wicket taker with 11 at 11.54.

An ankle injury in late 2014 hurt his tilt for Test selection, but he has still managed to pick up 16 wickets this season since returning to South Australia.

Now he will get his chance on the big stage, much to the delight of national selector Rod Marsh.

"We are delighted to welcome Chadd Sayers into the squad for the first time and his inclusion is thoroughly deserved," he said.

"Both he and Jackson Bird can swing the ball and operate at a lively pace and we believe both will be well suited to the conditions we are likely to encounter in New Zealand.

"We are hopeful James Pattinson will be able to overcome the shin soreness he has been suffering with and continue the fine form he showed in this summer's Tests when he bowled at good pace, while Peter Siddle is on the verge of playing again following the ankle injury he suffered during the West Indies series."

Bird, 29, will be competing in his first Test match since playing in Durham during the 2013 Ashes tour.

Siddle's big fitness test will come on February 3 when he returns for Victoria in the Shield match against the Tasmanian Tigers, which will be his first competitive match since the Boxing Day Test.

Australia will be hoping the Victorian can pull through, with Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile all injured.

"Our fast bowling depth is certainly being tested because of injury and retirement but the positive part of that is it means there are opportunities for other players to stand up in domestic cricket and stake their claims," Marsh said.

"On that basis it is an exciting time for Australian cricket.

"The batting line-up for the tour picks itself with all of the top order having produced excellent results during this summer's Commonwealth Bank Test series against New Zealand and the West Indies."

Australia could move back into top spot in the ICC Test rankings with victory in New Zealand.

The Test series starts on February 12, following a three-match ODI series.